Fashion

5 Low-Key Japanese Streetwear Brands You Should Know About

Some of your personal style icons source their 'fits from these Japanese streetwear labels.
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/CAVEMPT (LEFT), INSTAGRAM/PHARRELL (RIGHT)

Streetwear has become a staple among college students’ wardrobes. It’s the perfect combination of stylish and comfy. Even our favorite stars can’t resist a good streetwear ensemble. What you may not know about is that a lot of these celebrities look to Japanese streetwear brands, in particular, for their everyday fashion.

There’s no question that Japanese fashion is widely admired. Locally, we look to the likes of Uniqlo, a Japanese high-street fashion brand, for easily accessible Japanese-inspired clothing that leans towards the inexpensive price points.

Still, if you ever considered yourself a streetwear enthusiast, there are a lot more notable brands from the country that you need to brush up on. You may not know it, but some of your personal style icons source their ‘fits from these Japanese streetwear labels.

Comme des Garçons

One of the most popular Japanese brands to date would be Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons that has now maintained a global presence, being worn by stylish musicians like Justin Bieber, Drake, and Kanye West. In 2017, the theme for MET Gala was “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons” in honor of the Japanese designer. The brand has established many sub-labels since its inception, one of which is Play, which is the more laid-back and playful line many streetwear connoisseurs can be seen wearing. One of its more prominent collabs would be the Comme des Garçons Play x Converse sneakers with the signature logo of a red heart with a pair of eyes.

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Human Made

A Bathing Ape (BAPE) is another well-known Japanese label favored by many hip-hop stars. It was founded by Nigo, who eventually left the brand 2013. After leaving BAPE, Nigo has taken on the role of creative director for Uniqlo’s UT line and has launched a new streetwear project in the form of Human Made, which has also received much attention from celebrity clients. Some of its notable loyal wearers include music’s biggest names like Pharrell and BTS member j-hope. The brand features playful illustrations and big fonts in its designs.

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Visvim

Frank Ocean, Drake, A$AP Rocky, BTS’ RM—these are just some of the recognizable names in the music scene that have shown love for Japanese streetwear label Visvim. The menswear brand was established by Hiroki Nakamura in 2000 and it has since been known for its footwear and crafty clothing line.

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Cav Empt

Cav Empt, also known as C.E., was established in 2012 by three people: Toby Feltwell, Hishi, and artist Sk8thing (who has also worked with the likes of BAPE’s Nigo). After just one visit to its website, you’ll know that the brand is known for its “cyberpunk” graphics, all of which are designed by the Sk8thing himself. One of the most notable enthusiasts of the brand is famous YouTuber PewdiePie who can be seen wearing its items several times in his videos.

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Mastermind Japan

The founding of this popular Japanese fashion label dates back to the late ‘90s. The mastermind, pun intended, behind the brand is designer Masaaki Honma. The label is known for its logo—a skull on top of a pair of bones. According to Highsnobiety, one of the brand’s iconic enthusiasts is the late Karl Lagerfeld, who is most known for being Chanel’s creative director.

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Mylene Mendoza
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